Health

Location: 
LA
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New York City has no population- and needs-based process to connect health services to the actual needs of its varied communities. Rather, services are created or eliminated mainly on the basis of market, mainly profit-driven, considerations. The continuing crisis of hospitals in many parts of Brooklyn illustrates this well.

True community-based health planning seeks to provide the data and analysis that can connect the needs of each community to the services that are available to it. This requires an effort to involve the members of geographically-defined communities in an open public processes to improve the availability and quality of healthcare services as a means towards improving its health status.

Above all, we need a means of providing the data and analysis that program planners and advocates can use to assess the health care needs of each community and identify resource gaps as well as excess resources that could be distributed more rationally and equitably.

This sessions addresses the nature of such a system, the recent history of community struggles to retain necessary services, and the ways in which a needs-based health system might be achieved.

Location: 
LA
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Abstract will follow shortly.

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This panel will provide socialist perspectives on capitalism's ever-worsening ecological crisis. What is to be done -- both today and tomorrow -- and how are we to do it?

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The right to health care is a critical component of a winning strategy for the Left. Getting rid of the for-profit system of insurance and implementing an improved, expanded Medicare for All program has never been more popular among the American people, and has a real chance of passage in several states in the near future. The presenters, all activists and advocates in this movement, will update Left Forum participants on our movement at both the national and state levels.

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Since the outbreak of the global financial crisis, we have seen the rise of authoritarian regimes, of populist parties, of growing inequality… These trends diminish social cohesion and undermine democratic governance. Our future depends on how we will address the unprecedented number of political, social, and economic challenges. It is necessary to revitalize democratic governance and preserve civil rights and fundamental liberties. Arts, Culture, Humanism play a vital role in contemporary societies, and can contribute to achieving this goal. The current panel aspires to present some visions on creative democracy: in what ways the current wave of authoritarianism can be transformed through the Arts, Culture, Health Visions and Humanism. In particular, the speakers will examine how poets use language as a way to stabilize their sense of self, reclaim language and resist homogenized meaninglessness; how to narrate from a path of unity in diversity and embrace integration; some cultural perspectives from migrants in the US, and today´s initiatives on creative attempts to promote social change and civic engagement.

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The panel will lead a discussion on Domestic Violence and the revictimization of survivors through underfunding of services and available services that are unable, or unwilling to help. Specific topics will include law enforcement's role (and failures) in Domestic Violence, financial support, mental health needs, and others.

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This panel will lead a discussion around the mental health crisis in America. Topics will include deficiencies in mental health services regarding rural and urban populations, generational concerns, veterans' services, homelessness, wrongful incarceration of diagnosed youth, lack of funding for services, as well as qualified practitoners, and others.

Location: 
NYC
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The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada CanMEDS Physician Competency Framework has called for physicians to “responsibly use their expertise and influence to advance the health and well-being of individual patients, communities, and populations.”1 Many physicians support the idea of advocacy, but rarely engage in it due to the challenges of time constraints, varying understanding of their role as activists for social, economic, educational and political change, and distinctions made between the roles and responsibilities of individual physicians versus that of the medical profession as a whole. The American Medical Association’s (AMA) Declaration of Professional Responsibility: Medicine’s Contract with Humanity further asserts that physicians can “advocate for social, economic, educational, and political changes that ameliorate suffering and contribute to human well-being.”1

Many medical students enter training with a commitment to advocacy illustrated in their community service, work in clinics, and interests in training in public health, policy, and/or fields related to social change. However, advocacy activities and empathy often decrease as medical students enter the clinical aspects of their training. This may be due to busier schedules, or it is possible that initial self-interest for acceptance to medical school or early exposure to patient care rather than a true social commitment explained their earlier efforts. Physicians in public health may limit their advocacy to support of change in individual behavior, such as smoking cessation, immunizations, cancer screening, or seat belt use, rather than advocating for structural societal change. In addition, many physicians are politically conservative, and believe in providing direct patient care rather than engaging in social activism.1

Although advocacy is a key component of medical professionalism and has widespread acceptance as a professional obligation, it remains relatively marginalized within the profession because it is often undefined in scope, concept, and practice.2 Physician advocacy must be fostered and sustained in undergraduate and graduate medical education.2

At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:
1) Describe the challenges of engaging physicians and trainees in advocacy coalitions
2) Compare and contrast strategies for engaging doctors and other advocates around health and other issues
3) Practice deploying coalition-building skills with physicians, trainees, and allies
4) Identify opportunities to work with physicians and trainees in coalition

References
1) Freeman, J. Advocacy by physicians for patients and for social change. Virtual Mentor. September 2014. Volume 16, Number 9: 722-725.
2) Earnest, MA, Wong, SL, Federico, SG. Perspective: Physician Advocacy: what is it and how do we do it? Academic Medicine. 85(1): 63-67, January 2010.